Boeing, NASA, and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) have once again faced a setback in their plans for a crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule. The launch, which was scheduled for June 1st, was ultimately scrubbed less than 4 minutes before liftoff. Now, the new target date is set for June 2nd at 12:03PM ET. This delay marks another hurdle for the Starliner, which has already experienced multiple setbacks in its development.

The reason behind the delay lies in a computer issue known as the ground launch sequencer. This component failed to enter the correct operational configuration, prompting an automatic hold on the launch. During a press conference following the scrubbed launch, ULA CEO Tory Bruno explained that one of the three redundant launch sequencers, responsible for controlling crucial processes before liftoff, was slow to respond. The ULA is currently investigating the root cause of this technical glitch.

If the upcoming launch on June 2nd is successful, it will be the first time that Boeing’s Starliner flies with human beings on board. The scheduled flight aims to take two US astronauts, Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams, to the International Space Station (ISS). Once at the ISS, Wilmore and Williams will conduct tests on the Starliner and its subsystems as part of NASA’s final certification process for the craft’s future rotational missions to the ISS.

Boeing’s Starliner has had a history of delays and setbacks, including a failed mission in 2019. The previous delay on May 6th was due to an issue with a pressure regulation valve in the Atlas V rocket, which led to the scrubbed launch. Additionally, there is a known helium leak in the Starliner, but NASA has deemed it non-threatening to the mission. Repairing the leak would cause further delays, which NASA is looking to avoid.

Boeing’s Starliner is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which involves collaborations with private companies to develop innovative spacecraft. SpaceX is another participant in this program and has already launched NASA astronauts successfully since 2020. The goal of the program is to reduce reliance on Russian spacecraft for transportation to the ISS.

For those interested in witnessing the upcoming launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule, NASA will be live streaming the event on various platforms, including YouTube and the NASA Plus service. Viewers can follow along as the crewed mission attempts to finally take flight on June 2nd.


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